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Ray  Suarez

Ray Suarez

Renowned Broadcaster, Author & Host, On Shifting Ground, NPR Veteran

Ray Suarez

Renowned Broadcaster, Author & Host, On Shifting Ground, NPR Veteran


Journalist and author Ray Suarez hosts On Shifting Ground, a radio program syndicated on NPR and PRX stations across the U.S. The show explores international fault lines and how they impact us all, and features conversations with journalists, leaders and policy experts to help us read between the headlines— and give us hope for human resilience.

In addition, Ray launched Brooklyn Boy Productions in 2019, where he creates content for public radio and television, The Washington Post, The Independent (London), The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pew Research, Wisconsin Public Radio, Knowable, “America in One Room,” Hispanics in Philanthropy, Slate, palabra, The Nation, Hearst TV, AlterNet, CityPaper, The American Communities Project, The Intercept, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and National Catholic Reporter, among others.

Currently under contract to Little, Brown, Ray’s next book, We Are Home: Becoming American in the 21st Century, tells the stories of modern immigrants to the United States and the demographic and cultural change they are bringing to the country.

In 2022, Suarez was a visiting professor at NYU Shanghai, teaching and lecturing an international student body in the Political Science Department. In 2018, he was appointed the John J. McCloy Visiting Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. From 2013-2016, he was the host of Al Jazeera America’s (AJAM) daily news program, Inside Story.

Before going to AJAM, Suarez spent 14 years as a correspondent and anchor at public television’s nightly newscast, The PBS NewsHour, where he rose to become chief national correspondent. During his years at The NewsHour, Suarez covered the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, four presidential elections, reported from the floor of seven party political conventions, moderated two presidential primary candidates’ debates, reported from the devastating Port au Prince earthquake, the 2006 Mexico elections, the H1N1 virus pandemic in Mexico and the explosion of tuberculosis/HIV co-infection in South Africa among hundreds of others.

Suarez came to The NewsHour after six-and-a-half years as the Washington-based host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. During his time as host, the program’s carriage more than doubled to more than 150 radio stations, and the audience more than tripled in size. The New York Times called Ray the “thinking man’s talk show host,” and “a national resource.”

During his decades as a broadcaster, Ray also did extensive work as a writer. He wrote the 2013 companion volume to the PBS documentary series, Latino Americans. In 2005, he published an examination of the tightening relationship between religion and electoral politics, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America. His first book looked at the decades of disinvestment and white flight in urban America, The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration. In 2019, the New Press published Truth Has a Power of Its Own, a book featuring conversations about American history between Suarez and historian Howard Zinn.

Ray’s writing has also been included in many other books, including The Good Fight: America’s Ongoing Struggle for Justice, What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs, How I Learned English: 55 Accomplished Latinos Recall Lessons in Language and Life, Brooklyn: A State of Mind, Saving America’s Treasures and Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share Their Holiday Memories, among others. Ray also wrote an entry on religion and politics for the Oxford Companion to American Politics. His essays, op-eds and criticism have been published in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and The Independent (London).

Over the years, many organizations and institutions have recognized and honored Suarez and his work. He was a co-recipient of two DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton awards at NPR; UCLA’s Public Policy Leadership Award for his coverage of urban America; and his coverage of global public health has won national and international citations, including the Edwin Hood Award for Diplomatic Reporting from the National Press Club, a national Emmy nomination, and nine CINE Golden Eagle Awards. His innovative 2010 program “America Speaks to BP” won the Webby Award for live online events, and his podcast series Going for Broke, added another Webby, and three other national awards. The National Council of La Raza (now UNIDOS US) gave Suarez its Ruben Salazar Award and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists inducted him into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

As a Media Fellow, he has been a frequent presenter, speaker, and moderator at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He has also been a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and many other events. An active layman in the Episcopal Church, Suarez is a sought-after writer and speaker on religious topics. He currently serves as a member of The Chapter, the lay board of trustees of Washington National Cathedral.

Speaker Videos

How Latino Americans Shaped the U.S., Fought for Acceptance

2021 Commencement Speech Longwood University

Cover America Like a Foreign Country

The Impact of Religion in Politics

The Next America

Truth vs Feelings

Speech Topics

America 2.0

The US Census Bureau projects that sometime in the mid-2040s a majority of Americans will trace their ancestry to Africa, Asia, and Latin America rather than to Europe. You might have predicted one kind of cultural shift in November, 2008 when Barack Obama was elected, and find yourself anticipating a different march to that next America today, with President Trump in the Oval Office. Americans under- and oversell how the country will change when this historic shift occurs. I’ll take you on a tour of that next America, and how we get there.

Fake News!

Who do you believe? How do you make up your mind what’s happening in the country? For much of the last century, the American news business was a model for the rest of the world. American reporting was diverse, free, unregulated and guided by an evolving set of professional norms that gave it great credibility. What happened? Public confidence in the news business has cratered, and a parallel business has risen to become its rival, filled with invention, lies, distortion and the quiet goal of sowing confusion and continuing doubt that what is reported is true. It’s been a surprising, and destructive march from The Pentagon Papers to Woodward and Bernstein to the Wild West of information.

The Things I Thought About When My Body Was Surviving Cancer

Every year, 100,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed, sending people’s lives into a whirlwind as they begin treatment and come to terms with their illness. Ray Suarez’s cancer diagnosis propelled him through a cycle of emotions. Anger, sadness, tranquility and dissociation made Suarez wonder if the mind and body were connected. Did his life really belong to him? Suarez grappled with these questions and thoughts as he asserted himself over a disease that seemed impossible to control. In this honest and vulnerable talk, he shares his cancer journey and survivorship, inspiring audiences to reevaluate the meaning of life.

The New Secular America

Americans are, and have been for generations, the most religious people in the wealthy, industrial West. But with each new year, more Americans are dropping away from congregational and religious affiliation, and they’re doing it as a speed never before seen in our history. What’s happening inside American religion? Is this is a blip, or just a delayed trip to where our European cousins have been for decades? A more secular America will force changes in our politics, our culture, our charitable sector, and not least…a big change in who we think we are as a people.